1/21/2018 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I’ve been rather pre-occupied of late and writing this homily has been no exception. I couldn’t seem to focus, to get a central theme or a pertinent point that would inspire and assist you for the coming week.

I sat gazing at an empty computer screen Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. waiting for the right words to pour out – but they didn’t. I felt stuck. I had a Pastoral Council meeting to prepare for, then a meeting after that about the details for renovation, and then confessions and then Mass for the teens preparing for Confirmation. I was feeling very anxious. Time was running out.

“I tell you, brothers and sisters,” writes St. Paul to the Christians in Corinth, “Time is running out…For the world in its present form is passing away.”

That time is running out made me anxious enough, but the realization that the world in its present form is passing away almost undid me. But God came to my rescue.

I am so aware, especially with some of our new, young staff that many of the ways that I am used to doing things in my world, are passing away. Google is taking over my organizational world and I am floundering trying to keep up.

I am very aware that our society is changing so rapidly that our young people especially are being shaped by forces far beyond anything many of us have experienced.

I recently read that last year Thomas Friedman, an American journalist and three time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes on foreign affairs for the New York Times, published a book entitled, “Thank You for Being Late.”

The book deals with the unprecedented pace of change our whole world is experiencing. He says that humanity has known nothing like this since the days when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Today’s overwhelming change is happening because the “three largest forces on the planet – technology, globalization and climate change – are accelerating all at once.”

This made me all the more anxious until I read the next paragraph. Friedman quotes a friend who said, “When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings, they start.”

His point was that in times of change like today, we need to take time to catch our breath, to understand what is happening in and around us so that we can be a purposeful part of it, not just riders on a bullet train headed to an unknown destination.

Now, maybe more than ever, we need to help one another hit the “pause button” for prayer, for reading Sacred Scripture, for a Small Group, for Adoration, for Sunday Eucharist, for simple quiet without a screen dictating to us and distracting us.

I believe that we need time to pause and hear Jesus speak to each of our hearts, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand, right around you and within you. Look at the person to your right and left, in front of you and behind you – that’s where you’ll find the kingdom of God if you but pause long enough to truly see.”

Maybe that is the kind of “repent and believe” that we need right now in our time. Maybe we need to repent from just going with the flow to an intentionality of believing and living that Jesus is right here, right now calling each one of us, to “come and follow’ him into kingdom life.

The kingdom of God is a reality that springs from relationship with Jesus. It is a state of heart and mind that comes from getting caught up in Jesus’ vision of life. The kingdom of God is a way of living and thinking, a radically new orientation toward existence that affects absolutely everything about a person’s life and Jesus wants everybody in on it!

Jesus is so enthusiastic, so excited, so on fire with the Holy Spirit, that he will eventually sacrifice every fiber of his being in living and dying for the kingdom’s fulfillment.

Jesus invites you and me to hit the pause button every day so that we can enter into this new way of being, into this kingdom life where every human life from the moment of conception until natural death is afforded the dignity of existence that God intends; where respect for the environment for future generations is understood as a common heritage; where those on the margins of society are regarded as truly our sisters and brothers; where we are more attentive to the person next to us than we are to the screens in front of us.

I humbly ask that we hit the pause button and intentionally pray differently this week – however that might be for you.

Pause. Reflect. Realize that “this is the time of fulfillment; that the kingdom of God is at hand; that time is running out; that the world in its present for is passing away.

Let us repent and believe in God’s unconditional love for us made flesh in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.

May Jesus be our pause button from now on.

May Jesus be our world that never passes away.

May Jesus be our world without end. Amen.